Volume 2 Number 12
March 21, 2005




Lenders in Orange, Broward and Palm Beach Counties defrauded of over $3 million 

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher announced the arrests of three people suspected of falsely obtaining mortgage loans to purchase high-end properties in Orange, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.  Patricia C. Grant, Edgar Grant, and Geisha Morris were arrested yesterday for allegedly falsifying documents to obtain mortgage loans.   

Patricia Grant, the ringleader of the scam, filed false W-2 forms, fraudulent bank statements, HUD -1 settlement statements, employment forms, and other documents in order to obtain mortgage loans and purchase expensive homes.

 “The victims of crimes like this are not just the companies that are targeted,” said Gallagher, “we all pay higher costs because of these rip-offs.  I commend the Office of Financial Regulation for their great work in bringing these three to justice, in particular I want to congratulate investigator Mary DiFabbio for her part in these arrests.”  The Office of Financial Regulation falls under the Florida Department of Financial Services. 

As part of the scheme, Grant and her associates falsified documents for borrowers stating inflated earnings as employees of companies she owned.  This enabled the borrowers to qualify for mortgage loans for very pricey houses.  Grant and/or her family members lived in some of these properties, others were rented by Grant and the rental payments were made to her, not the owners of the properties.  Many of these mortgage loans were not paid and have been foreclosed or are in the foreclosure process.   

The three face charges of racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, organized fraud, grand theft, and mortgage fraud.  Bond for each was set at $1,000,000. 

Okeechobee County's historic courthouse, built in 1925, sits next to the county's new state-of-the-art courthouse scheduled to open this spring.